"To grow old is to pass from passion to compassion."
Monday, June 29, 2009
Dealing With The Worst Kind Of Food Critic
Distracted by the challenge of becoming the birth coach for my daughter's second child, developing www.CharmainesMusePallet.wordpress.com, and my obsessive reporting about our environment at www.Neptune911.wordpress.com, has led Queen Six-Oh-Dear author astray.
I'm half-way into that Six-Oh-Dear thing, and filled with more creativity and enthusiasm ever. Thank God!
Why thank God? Presently, after a successful night of birth coaching, I'm the chief cook for the daughter's family--which includes the biggest, pickiest, most blunt food critic of all times--Quinlan.
Planet Quinlan, as he is best described, will soon be two. With four planets in Leo, including his Sun, he knows what he wants and doesn't want. Food included.
A BFF recently noted that she doesn't invite me to dinner because I'm too intimidating. I'm a decent cook but unaware that my skills are intimidating. I know if I invite folks for a dinner party, the table is full. No complaints.
An then there is the Planet. Hankering for some enchiladas, I made a chicken enchilada that had no spicy stuff in it...and lots of cheese. The Planet took a bite, pulled the chicken and corn tortilla from his mouth, announced, "Yucky! Trash," as he handed the slightly chewed mess to his father. He makes a high end food critic seem timid.
Finally, after a week of inventing toddler food that we adults could eat with pleasure, I tossed a bowl of yucky veggies into the food processor, mixed it with ground sirloin and a dab of salt and ketchup, baked, prayed and served. Voila! We have a winner. "Yum! More!" announced my worst food critic.
Northern Californian, Marty Molidor, says "Yes" to cutting costs. This Six-oh-dear-dude even admits to being a skinflint. Skinflinting is a good idea. Here's what Marty has to say:
"I have some lifestyle things that help to save pennies...I maintain a spreadsheet of the things that (I) regularly buy at Costco (I try to get as much food and household stuff there as possible--not convenience stuff but bulky regular stuff). So, my spreadsheet has a row for each item. Example: chicken broth--which I now use with regular bulk rice instead of flavored rice...
The next column is the price, then the quantity (12 cans in the chicken broth example), then a calculated column which amounts to price per can. I keep a copy of my shopping list... so that if I find myself in a Safeway or FoodMaxx and I see their sale price for chicken broth for 80-cents a can, I compare it to my list which shows the Costco price at 66 cents. If the Safeway sale price is lower (rare) I stock up.
My wife will note when Safeway has this or that on sale for so much. I consult the list and let her know that the Costco price is still much better.
I print the (two sided) list every Saturday for my Costco trip and I check off the stuff we need. This just keeps me from having to write out what is needed. I also wear the list , attached to a lanyard around my neck like a convention badge, when I go shopping. Did I mention nerdy?
But the main idea is to keep aware of the Costco prices so we can avoid getting sale stuff elsewhere when we see sales...
Another thing we do is use a landline phone ($20 per month?) and keep a prepaid cell phone for when we need it. This only works if one's cell use is very occasional and not the main phone you own.
My kids laugh at this approach but sixty-somethings may understand. Also, no long distance carrier. I got sick of all the AT&T fees and charges. We use an MCI card for those occasional long distance calls. As in the case of the prepaid cell, the per minute charge is high but both have the beauty of no monthly charges/fees/taxes, etc. If you don't have a long distance carrier, you don't want to accept a collect long distance call, trust me. I paid $17 for a single collect call before I realized this."
Note: How does the Santa Fe Mother Blogger's spouse react when he opens the freezer? "Owy Cwap! What's with the bags of bones?"
No bone in the Santa Fe Mother Blogger's kitchen goes to trash. If I can't process them right away, the carcass and/or bones go into the freezer. (I have good bone density. Some I credit to this habit of recycling bones from chickens, turkeys and cattle).
When the need for broth arises, I place the carcass on a cookie sheet, blast some salt and pepper on it, then roast the bones at 450-degrees until good and crispy. That gets tossed into a big pot of boiling water spiced with refrigerator leftover celery, onion, whatever.
I cook it down to the point of where the smell is so good that I just gotta have some now. I strain it, then use that broth for just about anything. Oh yeah, I always make enough to freeze for the times I don't have the time to go through this process.
The roasting of the bones is what gives it that extra zing.
Nutrition on the Cheap-Lentil Sprouts
Try sprouting a handful of lentils.
Santa Fe Mother Blogger Reflects
After an 8-day freewheeling adventure in Baja, Clif caught me with a cup of coffee at the fabulous La Fonda in old Cabo San Lucas.